There have been a few people out there taking some digs at the Lions’ decision to go for the touchdown on 4th and 1 against the Chiefs late in the 4th quarter while leading 41-3. Some pass it off as a joke saying the Lions haven’t been on that side of a blowout in so long that they didn’t know they were supposed to kill clock, some have chided the Lions for rubbing it in or kicking a team when they were down. Very few people saw it for what it was. Revenge.
During the offseason the Lions were penalized for tampering with the Chiefs players after the Chiefs accused the Lions of having impermissible contact with players on the team. Gunther Cunningham stated that there were a lot of players on the Chiefs that were acquired for his scheme when he was there, and didn’t fit the new scheme the Chiefs installed. He casually mentioned that if the Chiefs cut them loose, he’d be more than happy to reunite with them. Innocent enough, yet by the letter of the law in the NFL that’s tampering.
Tampering occurs all the time in far more egregious manners than Cunningham’s comments. When Albert Haynesworth was a free agent, he signed a nine figure contract under an hour after free agency opened. Are you telling me that his agent shopped around, talked numbers with various teams, agreed to terms and drafted a complex contract within an hour of free agency opening? Off course not, his agent had been working with the Redskins for weeks and held off dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s until contact with other teams was allowed.
The Titans had evidence of the tampering as well, and they chose not to pursue it because every NFL team tampers and once you blow the whistle you are branded a hypocrite. Look at Eric Mangini. He built his career up with the Patriots which allowed him to get a head coaching job. Then he blows the whistle on the Patriots for taping signs when dozens of teams tape signs too. He had no problem with it occurring when he was employed by the Patriots and could reap any potential benefits, then blows the whistle once he’s gone. The Patriots get busted and now Mangini is out of football because nobody wants to employ a hypocrite.
Baseball is more well known for its unspoken codes, but football has them as well. This is no different than beaning a batter that showed up a pitcher after hitting a homerun. The Chiefs broke the unspoken code using the most innocent of offenses as their launching point. The Lions responded by giving them a noogie after they had already called “Uncle.” In the process, the Lions showed the league that they are not going to be pushed around, and if you push them, they push back.
Perhaps if GM Scott Pioli and Todd Haley were more focused on running their team rather than using bush league tactics to gain extra draft choices, they wouldn’t be in this predicament. Todd Haley is known as a bad apple throughout the league especially after his finger wagging at John McDaniels, firing Chan Gailey right before the 2009 season and not getting along with Charlie Weis last season and forcing him out. Haley’s built up enough bad football karma that he’s reaping what he sowed right now, with a tiny little nudge from the Lions.